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Author Topic: Newbie needs help!  (Read 1478 times)
NZ4Z
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« on: May 18, 2009, 02:06:54 PM »

Hello all, I had another great time at the Dayton Hamvention, spent money I did'nt have, and found new intrest that will require even more money.....oh well, that's the way it goes.
My new intrest is satellites, the AMSAT booth had lots of info, but was very busy, and I did'nt get a chance to ask many questions. I was wondering what is needed to enter into satellite communications? Rig, antenna, rotator.....complete setup??? As far as a 2m rig, I only have the Yaesu 7800.

Thanks for any and all help.

Steve
NZ4Z
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 05:30:10 AM »

amsat.org

Tons of articles and information for the newbie.
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K2FR
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2009, 01:20:08 PM »

Start out on a budget..

Arrow Antenna, or a home brew'ed 70cm/2m
and a Handheld.

im running an arrow antenna right now with 2 hand helds and its wicked fun and very portable, can assemble the antenna and plug in within a few min and im ready to rock.

Check out some of my videos if your interested

Search KC2UOO On youtube.

Good luck! 73's
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AI4WC
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2009, 02:55:47 PM »

KC2UOO has the best advice.  Be aware that AO-51 is having some troubles at the moment.  Start out small and see what is happening.  Passes can be VERY busy.  Check the AMSAT website.  The Arrow handheld antenna setup is great.  
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AJ4MJ
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 09:35:24 AM »

Steve,

There is a cheap and easy way that most hams can get on the air with a decent setup.  All you need is:

1) A 2 meter mobile setup in your car (with a whip antenna)
2) An HT that can receive on 70cm.  Full duplex is not necessary.
3) A handheld yagi.  These are easy to build and mine cost about three dollars to make.  It's a piece of PVC pipe with some wires clamped to it.  Details:  http://web.archive.org/web/20050208223139/http://members.aol.com/k5oejerry/handi-tenna.htm

The operating technique is detailed in February's QST.  Hook the yagi up to the HT and use it to receive.  Use the 2M mobile in your car to transmit.  This is a full-duplex setup, so be sure to use headphones on your HT so you don't get feedback.  iPod earbuds work great for this.

I have worked all 3 FM birds plus the ISS using this technique.

The antenna is very easy to build.  I didn't make my measurements very carefully, held the thing together with rubber bands, and didn't have a means to check the SWR - it still worked FB.  All of the parts were available at my local hardware store (except for the feedline and BNC).
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AJ4MJ
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 09:43:03 AM »

One word of caution about the amsat.org site.  I agree with KB9CRY that it is the best source of information.  However, some of the articles discuss birds that are no longer operational.

There are currently only 6 operational voice satellites.  3 FM birds: AO-51, SO-50, and AO-27, and 3 linears: FO-29, VO-52, and AO-7.  All are low earth orbit (LEO).

The ISS sometimes operates as an FM repeater as well.
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 11:19:35 AM »

To get started you don't need to spend alot. The antenna can probably be built for less than $20 with great results. I used a cross polarized yagi based on the WA5VJB design.

This is the link with the measurements. I made a 3el 2 meter yagi and 6el 432 yagi

http://www.fredspinner.com/W0FMS/CheapYagi/vjbcy.html

From there.. you need something that will transmit on 2m FM and something that will receive 435-437 FM. Of course a dual bander would work fine.. you can also use separates.

There is plenty of free software out there for tracking. I used satPC32. After a while you'll find you don't always need a laptop.

An inexpensive compass helps, make sure to find something that has degrees printed on it. While you don't always need it, it's good to have.

One trick though, make sure you leave the squelch all the way open on the receive side. Always. While there will be times the satellite can defintely break the squelch, there are many times it can't. I find it easier just to totally shut the squelch off so that you don't have to keep holding the 'monitor' button that is prevalent on most modern HT's.

I found building the antenna was alot of fun. I picked up the aluminum and brass 1/8" rod from McMaster Karr, I picked up a 1/2" square dowel from home depot, an old piece of coax and some epoxy was all I needed.

Getting into the other satellites with transponders gets a bit more involved. While I have not headed down that path yet, it's generally a bigger investment as you need radio equip capable of SSB/CW. Stations running this type of equipment normally are running with az-el rotators, etc.

That's why I like the FM Leo's for now.. extremely low cost investment with a great return on happiness for all the QSO's you will make.
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W6TGE
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 12:16:13 PM »

If you ever come back to this forum, here is the one I built.

http://www.wa5vjb.com/references/Cheap%20Antennas-LEOs.pdf

I used square wood as it was easy to drill as round boom stock is harder to keep on center. I built the 6el 435 and am adding 2el 2M on a 43" 3/4 X 3/4" wood boom.
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AJ4MJ
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 12:44:38 PM »

W6TGE,

Did you drill through the boom and pass the elements through the hole, or did you mount the elements on top?  The latter sounds easier to adjust, but the former will make for a more durable antenna.

73 de AJ4MJ
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W6TGE
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 12:54:21 PM »

OH, I drilled thru the wooden boom. I then pushed the elements through and measured to be sure they were centered. I was going to glue them, but I knew I was going to change the Ground wire for 1/8 welding rod if it worked out. You can never get that ground wire very straight, but it did not seem to matter. My DE was a piece of wire from #12 electric wire! Boy, did it ever work!
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KA9CQL
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2009, 02:26:10 AM »

I agree with AJ4MJ. AMSAT's website seems to have *very* old, and mostly outdated information on it.  I don't know much about satellites, and even after browsing AMSAT's site, I still don't know...

I've taken it upon myself to put whatever I can find onto the webpage at http://www.victorvalleyham.com/satellites.htm.  If you go there you can see the best info I've found so far.  And, as you can tell, it's not much!

I have contacted my AMSAT regional rep, and conveyed that the site needs some better navigation, or ... something!  Us newbies need more help than appears forthcoming from the AMSAT site...

My 2c...
- Mike
  KA9CQL
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K6LCS
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2009, 08:57:09 AM »

>> ... Yaesu mobile rig ...

A tutorial to get you on the air with the satellites using an HT is at ...

http://www.k6lcs.com

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
K6LCS
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2009, 09:00:02 AM »

>> ... AMSAT's website seems to have *very* old, and mostly outdated information on it ...

Maybe you're missing something at the amsat.org site. The front page was updated just this past week with info on AO-51.

Want online LIVE, up-to-the-moment satellite pass predictions? They are right there on the Main Menu under TOOLS ...

http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/tools/

Want operational status of the workable birds? It's right there off the main page, under SATELLITE INFORMATION ...

http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/satellites/status.php
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
K6LCS
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2009, 09:03:29 AM »

>> ... victorvalleyham.com ...

I have given my "How to Work Amateur Satellites with your HT" presentation twice up there the past couple of years! There are some great folks in the VVARC.
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
AJ4MJ
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2009, 02:05:21 PM »

Hey guys!

I wasn't trying to condemn the AMSAT site.  As I said, they are great articles.  It's just that they mention details of satellites that are no longer usable.  And I'm certainly not one of these anti-AMSAT guys.  Without AMSAT, there would be no satellites!

Clint's "How to work AO-51" tutorial is awesome and very up to date.  That's more than enough to get anyone started.

Obviously the "Sat Status" and "Passes" sections of the AMSAT site are up to date.  However, the "New To Satellites" has a few articles with some age -

"Working your first Amateur Satellite" (VK3JED) - Discusses SO-35 (no longer operational).  Its SUNSAT status link is broken, and the "few more satellites" link lists more sats of days past - UO-14, RS-13, and FO-20.

"Working the Easy Sats" (WA4YMZ) - RS-12/13, UO-14, RS-15, FO-20, AO-16, UO-22, KO-23, KO-25, TO31, UO-36, AO-10, AO-40 all dead.


73 de AJ4MJ


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